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If You Lived Here You'd Be Home By Now

Why We Traded the Commuting Life for a Little House on the Prairie
Narrated by: Josh Bloomberg
Length: 7 hrs and 4 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (39 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The hilarious, charming, and candid story of writer Christopher Ingraham’s decision to uproot his life and move his family to Red Lake Falls, Minnesota, population 1,400 - the community he made famous as “the worst place to live in America” in a story he wrote for the Washington Post.

Like so many young American couples, Chris Ingraham and his wife Briana were having a difficult time making ends meet as they tried to raise their twin boys in the East Coast suburbs. One day, Chris - in his role as a “data guy” reporter at the Washington Post -stumbled on a study that would change his life. It was a ranking of America’s 3,000 plus counties from ugliest to most scenic. He quickly scrolled to the bottom of the list and gleefully wrote the words “The absolute worst place to live in America is (drumroll please)…Red Lake County, Minn.” The story went viral, to put it mildly.  

Among the reactions were many from residents of Red Lake County. While they were unflappably polite - it’s not called “Minnesota Nice” for nothing - they challenged him to look beyond the spreadsheet and actually visit their community. Ingraham, with slight trepidation, accepted. Impressed by the locals’ warmth, humor and hospitality - and ever more aware of his financial situation and torturous commute - Chris and Briana eventually decided to relocate to the town he’d just dragged through the dirt on the Internet.

If You Lived Here You’d Be Home by Now is the story of making a decision that turns all your preconceptions - good and bad - on their heads. In Red Lake County, Ingraham experiences the intensity and power of small-town gossip, struggles to find a decent cup of coffee, suffers through winters with temperatures dropping to 40 below zero, and unearths some truths about small-town life that the coastal media usually miss. It’s a wry and charming tale - with data! - of what happened to one family brave enough to move waaaay beyond its comfort zone.

©2019 Christopher Ingraham (P)2019 HarperAudio

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Lessons for Anyone

The author's story moving from suburban DC to small town Minnesota takes the concept of moving to smaller places to the extreme. I grew up in Des Moines, Iowa, spent some time in Atlanta then moved back and experienced similar insights. His writing is funny and data driven (he writes data driven stories for the Washington Post). It's both a good family story and very informational about why it's a good idea to move to smaller population centers. You don't necessarily need to move to a tiny town on the tundra to achieve higher quality of life and lower cost of living. I think many people living along the coasts or huge cities could learn a lot from this book.

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Tangible truth.

I really like how he pointed out the different challenges of raising kids in the city vs. a small town. I enjoy the story a lot. Thanks for sharing your experience and family with us.

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Loved his insights on rural, small town life

I enjoyed his insights on rural, small town life. This book makes a case for telecommuting and having work / life balance.

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Loved every bit! 😁

As a fellow Minnesotan, (Duluth) I loved the telling of a transplant telling the truth of how we live. Things we don't see because they aren't unusual. Our mannerisms, and our sayings, our hotdishes, our activities despite winter, the way we look out for one another. It's in our DNA. Welcome! I'm glad you stayed.
Super funny part. The reading of the plum post. And the tossing dead animals in the trash with tons of acreage around in which to bury them. Also, the wet ladder in the treestand. Tickled my funnybone.
The contraption for ice fishing? It's just called a fish finder. We don't care if they work. It's just part of fishing.
While I'm not at all interested in statistics, I loved this story so much that I hated that it was over. Book II, perhaps? Love the everyday living stories.